Sat, Jan 07, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Slain boat captain’s family push for details

Staff Writer, with CNA

The family of a Taiwanese fishing boat captain who was inadvertently killed by gunfire from a US warship during an anti-piracy mission in the Indian Ocean in May continued to push for details of the skipper’s death and compensation from the US on Thursday.

Wu Hui-ju (吳惠茹), a daughter of killed captain Wu Lai-yu (吳來于), said William Stanton, head of the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT) Taipei Office, had said “sorry” to the family three times and had also provided photographs and video footage related to the warship’s operation and her father’s death.

However, she said that after watching the videos and studying the photographs, she found the operation was still “questionable” and her family “couldn’t understand why the US had opened fire.”

“We hope the US government gives us a clear explanation and takes responsibility for killing my father,” she added.

Wu Lai-yu’s vessel, the Taiwan-registered Jih Chun Tsai No. 68, was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia in late March 2010.

After more than a year of negotiations, Wu Lai-yu’s family finally struck a ransom deal late in April last year. However, during a USS Stephen W. Groves NATO operation off the coast of the eastern African country on May 10, Wu Lai-yu was reportedly killed during an exchange of fire between forces on the US vessel and the Somalian pirates who had taken control of his fishing vessel.

Wu Tien Li-shuo (吳田麗說), the wife of the deceased skipper, demanded a formal apology from the US and compensation for her husband’s death and the vessel.

Tseng Yu-tsung (曾毓宗), an official with the Liouciou Fishermen’s Association, said the family is still waiting for an investigative report, which the AIT promised to submit by Dec. 31 last year.

According to Tseng, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will step in to assist if the US fails to contact the family about the report.

If the US ignores the case, Tseng added, the ministry said it would help the family file administrative litigation in the hope of being awarded compensation.

In addition, Wu Lai-yu’s family also expressed its thanks to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Ho Tsai-feng (侯彩鳳) for her assistance in the case.

The AIT made an ex gratia payment to Wu Lai-yu’s family in August to express its condolences to the bereaved family. The amount of the payment was not revealed.

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